Over the past several days I’ve been posting the transcription of an interview I conducted with Jairus Reddy of Hobbes End Publishers. I’m at a lot of conferences, seminars, and workshops and I conduct a lot of interviews, but I rarely mention most of that stuff on my blog because I’m not sure any of those “updates” are very helpful for visitors to this blog, who are primarily writers and entrepreneurs. How exciting or interesting or informative is it for them to hear that I was at a book expo in NY or attended workshops in Anaheim? Not very.
But sometimes when I converse with other industry professionals, I feel that the dialogue sometimes hold value, so, for what it’s worth, here’s the continuation of that interview. Parts 1 and 2 “aired” yesterday and the day before…
JR: What advice would you give an author who has a finished manuscript, but no idea where to go from there?
Brent: Get it edited. Publishing has become so “easy” that authors often jump straight to production when their manuscript needs a bit of work first. We offer editing services even for authors who don’t know where or how they’re going to publish at http://outskirtspress.com/p/editing and that’s the first thing I would recommend to any writer who just finished their book. Even if you plan on submitting your book to an agent or a traditional publisher for consideration, it needs to be edited first. Some authors think that since traditional publishers edit manuscripts as a part of their production process, the book doesn’t have to be edited before submission. Nothing could be further from the truth; that misconception is one of the reasons the publisher or agent is going to turn you down. Yes, editing is an investment, but so is publishing a book. If you publish a book for “free” guess what you’re going to have — a book that looks like it didn’t cost anything to make. Even if you have no intention of paying to have your book published, you should plan on paying to have it professionally edited.
JR: I have had changing views on self-publishing over the last couple of years. All the authors I have interviewed or talked to, published by Outskirts, have always been satisfied. What separates your company from other “vanity” presses?
Brent: There are true “vanity” presses that blow wind up your skirt about how great your book is and then ask you to pay $10,000 dollars or more to publish it. They’re in a different category than us, so a comparison is non-applicable. There are also do-it-yourself author mills that push out thousands of “books” a day without any human intervention, and those presses are in a different category, too. But when comparing Outskirts Press with other quality, full-service self-publishing firms, there are a few benefits: 1) Outskirts Press authors keep 100% of their net profit for book sales. Our competitors pay around 50% and traditional publishers pay 5%-10%. 2) Our books win statistically more awards so authors know that quality and service is of utmost importance to us. 3) I’m a writer first and a CEO second. Writing a book might be an art form, but publishing one is a business, so our authors benefit from having the CEO walking that line right along with them. As the Hair Club for Men guy used to say, “I’m not only the president, I’m also a client.”
JR: How have you seen the industry change over the past ten years? Where do you think it will go from here?
Brent: The self-publishing industry is growing exponentially! Our growth has been phenomenal, as demonstrated by our three-year run on the Inc. 5000. All of this increased growth has happened just in the past 10 years, but even so, a statistically small number of writers are aware of self-publishing as an option. I still run into authors all the time at events who look at me like some sort of magician when I show them how easy and fast it is to get their book published and listed for sale on Amazon. As more writers become aware of their true publishing choices, self-publishing will continue to grow and evolve to meet their needs.
JR: I am always interested to why people have chosen their career path. Why did you decide to publish books?
Brent: It’s incredibly fulfilling. We received written testimonials from authors holding their books, or videos from authors seeing their books for the first time, that will literally bring tears to your eyes — they’re so touching. I know what the feeling is like, and I can’t possible write 7500 books, but I’ve enjoyed the experience of publishing 7500 books by living vicariously through our authors. It’s so rewarding.
… read the conclusion to this interview tomorrow…